How NYC plans to enforce its measles vaccination order

Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective, and life-saving", New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday.

After almost 300 people were infected in Brooklyn, Bill de Blasio, New York's mayor, ordered unvaccinated individuals in certain postcodes to get their jabs or face a fine.

The city said it would help everyone covered by the order get the vaccine if it was not quickly available through their regular medical provider.

Of those infected, 246 were children, NY health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said. On Tuesday, he declared a state of emergency and mandated residents of the Williamsburg neighbourhood, where an outbreak of measles has been raging since last fall, get vaccinated for the viral disease.

The agency said it "continues to be seriously concerned about the accelerating numbers of measles cases being confirmed nationally".

Meanwhile, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated its response to measles, establishing a larger team to focus on outbreaks that have sickened 465 people nationwide this year - the second-greatest number of cases reported in the US since measles was eliminated domestically in 2000. As of late last week, there had been at least 166 confirmed cases there.

"It's crucial for people to understand the measles vaccine works", de Blasio continued.

The mandatory vaccination order follows an order from the Health Department last week requiring yeshivas and day-care programs serving Williamsburg's Orthodox Jewish community to exclude unvaccinated children or face fines or closure.

He was joined by health officials who decried what they called "misinformation" spread by opponents of vaccination. "People who are immunocompromised, as well as young children and non-immune pregnant women are at highest risk for severe complications". We're talking about people's lives here.

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Outbreaks of the measles - a disease thought to be all but eliminated in the USA - have health officials concerned.

The commissioner is empowered by law to issue such orders in cases when they might be necessary to protect against a serious public health threat. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000.

She also urged parents to avoid the practice of "measles parties", which she said has contributed to the outbreak.

"And it's everybody's option to do what he wants".

The announcement comes a day after DOH threatened to close Williamsburg yeshivas that allow unvaccinated students to attend school in light of the epidemic.

"Measles is a risky, potentially deadly disease that can easily be prevented with vaccine", said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. "We can stop this".

On March 26, county officials issued a 30-day emergency order banning unvaccinated children under 18 from being in public places such as shopping centers, businesses, restaurants, schools, and places of worship. CDC figures show 71.2 percent of children that age in Alabama had received the recommended doses vaccines, including MMR, in 2018. While it is possible to become infected with measles post-vaccination, the Mayo Clinic says it is unlikely, provided the immunizations are up-to-date.

"Measles is a highly contagious disease", Glatter said.

People are infectious from five days before the onset of the rash to five days after the rash starts.

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